Vision and Vitality - two glorious days with Inspiring Entrepreneurs


More than 10 days on I’m still full to the brim with inspiration and gratitude from my time hosting Vision and Vitality.

7 incredible entrepreneurs took two days away from their desks to join me at Danesfield house and I was blown away by what we were able to accomplish in such a short time.

My aim was to leave them with clarity of vision for their business for the coming year and a set of authentic goals for 2019 that would move them forward with energy and purpose. What we actually achieved was so much more.

Mindful of the time pressures most of us are under, I set my guests very little pre-work, a short audio with a guided reflection on their year past and the current state of their business. We picked up this theme to kick us off in the first session.

Taking time to reflect on the past and incorporate valuable learning in our path for the future is a step often missed in the fast pace of entrepreneurial life, but I find it to be invaluable.

As we review we become more self aware, more mindful of the subtleties that affect our everyday experience of life and work and we get the opportunity to tweak and refine our process and approach. Taking a Kaizen approach, the concept of continual small improvements, can be a really powerful one that over time compounds to yield profound shifts in performance and success both personally and professionally. It’s also a very manageable approach for the busy entrepreneur.

Reviewing within a positive framework that is focused on your strengths, what brings you most joy and what you can do to improve things, enables you to make subtle, or indeed dramatic changes that can have a huge impact on how you feel about your work on a day to day basis.

danesfield house vision and vitality workshop

The remainder of our first morning was spent in deep exploration of values and mission. Two absolutely fundamental requirements for the empowered entrepreneur.

We looked at the our personal values, brand values and those that underpin our way of working, getting a sense of what went where.

Understanding that your values may shift over time and periodically checking in with what has become most important, provides such a valuable (excuse the pun) exercise for ensuring that you remain on track and lead the life you want to live.

I highly recommend taking a pause and taking in the bigger picture from time to time. We can get stuck in the granular detail of the everyday and, as life continues at such a pace, before long another year has passed. This is, to a certain degree, the way of things. It does, however, leave room for regret, for missed opportunities and may come at the price of our deepest fulfilment.

Taking a holistic view as an entrepreneur is so important too. Asking yourself what is most valuable in life, not just in your work, and finding ways to honour that, enables you to create a way of working that feeds you on all levels. When we take the time to do this, we are so much more likely to work in a more inspired and fulfilling way, achieve more of our potential and really live the life we are capable of living.

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Mission matters

What you are aiming for in your business can affect how you work at every level. With the right mission you are galvanised to action. A well crafted and authentic mission is something that encourages you to elevate your thinking and push you towards achieving your potential. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does have to be meaningful.

A common theme in the room was the desire to have even more impact. It was humbling to be amongst these already very successful and inspiring women, all seeking to make a greater contribution.

We took time to craft and present a clear mission which was very moving.

It’s this deeper meaning in our work that fulfils us and drives us in the darker days and the harder times when we may wonder what it’s all for. It’s this deep understanding of the benefit and the value that we bring to our clients and those close to us, that elevates our work to something with even greater power.

vision and vitality workshop elizabeth cairns danesfiled house

Value and mission lead naturally into expanding your vision. Getting a clear sense of where you are headed and what takes prominence in your business and life is hugely motivating. There’s no need necessarily to have a far reaching, three, five or 10 year vision; for many of us working six to 12 months ahead was enough. What’s important is that it’s compelling and pulls you into the future with a sense of excitement and possibility.

I always use the natural landscape of the places in which I work as part of my process, which is why I’m so selective about the venues I use. Having wide open spaces for visioning is so helpful and the view from the terrace at Danesfield really does the job.

vision and vitality workshop elizabeth cairns danesfield house

Ending our first day with getting a clear sense of our unique criteria for success enabled everyone in the room to translate their mission and vision into tangibles they could measure to know they were on track for success.

vision and vitality with elizabeth cairns

Day two brought more sunshine and a shift of attention from the bigger picture to the detail of the everyday and the specific plans for the year.

We explored ways to create more space and where boundaries would be helpful. We got the diaries and planners out to do the graft in the room ensuring that everyone left the workshop with a worthwhile plan, rather than a plan to get a plan.

Given the fact that our intimate group had bonded so well, and I felt had a good sense of each others businesses, we made time for a round the room problem solving session. Each person posed their particular challenge and, following the Disney creativity model, we all contributed suggestions in a quick-fire brainstorm. It was a way for everyone to gain support for their own challenge whilst benefiting from everyone else’s experience. It was a big hit.

vision and vitality workshop elizabeth cairns

Translating their vision into achievable and tangible goals with specific actions and a daily routine to best support them was the work of the afternoon.

With productivity tips, problem solving and a quick masterclass in making the most of their ultradian rhythms thrown in for good measure, there was nothing left to do other than step into the future as visionary entrepreneurs on a serious mission.

I designed our final session to embed the essence of the empowered entrepreneur in each of my guests. Enabling them to experience who they need to be to achieve their goals and to know, deep in their bones, that success is not only possible, but inevitable, was key.

Using the open landscape to support us again, I was thankful for the golden rays of the setting sun as our back drop for the end of an inspiring and empowering two days.

vision and vitality danesfield house

“Incredibly inspiring but heavily grounded - this for me is key. I needed ‘inspiration’ time but very often that alone can create a busy ‘buzz’ that’s a little flighty - for me the combination of dream/inspire and strategy action was key!”

Sinead, participant 2018

If you would like to join me for Vision and Vitality, March 19th and 20th 2019, I will be offering it as a two day all inclusive retreat in the Cotswolds.

At a home from home venue in a spectacular setting in the vale of Evesham it promises to be a restorative, inspiring and highly productive two day break away.

If you would like more information and to book your place visit Vision and Vitality. I hope to see you there!